It's incredibly flattering to be asked to serve as someone's maid of honor, but it's a position that comes with a great deal of responsibility and is certainly not one to be taken lightly. In addition to standing up next to the bride as she marries the love of her life, you're agreeing to be her right-hand woman throughout the entire planning process, which can involve everything from helping her choose her dress (along with the bridesmaids' dresses) to planning the bachelorette party, shower, and more. But in the sea of things you should do as her MOH, there are plenty of things you shouldn't. Here are seven definite don'ts.
It can be tempting to complain about your responsibilities, especially when so much is being asked of you in what can be over such a short period of time. But try your best to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself for the time being. This goes for everything from not loving the bridesmaids' dresses to butting heads with the MOB or the groom. "Unless the bride asks you for your brutally honest opinion, do not say anything negative," says Larissa Banting, wedding planner and president of Weddings Costa Rica. "Unless you see her making a decision that's going to cost undue expense or cause strife, keep your opinions to yourself."
Don't wait to get your dress.
"One of the biggest stressors for brides are laissez-faire 'maids who put off ordering their dresses," says Banting. "Most bridal shops need a minimum of three months for an order to arrive from the designer. So when the bride tells you which dress she'd like everyone to wear, that means you should order as soon as possible. The responsibility also falls on you to ensure that the rest of the bridesmaids are on top of ordering their dresses and getting them altered with enough time to spare.
Don't make it all about you.
Until your girl has celebrated her nuptials to her heart's content, it's all about her. "The bride is the star of the show and you are in the supporting role," says Banting. "As the maid of honor, you are literally her right-hand, which means your number one job is to provide her with practical support by helping her dress, making sure she eats and stays hydrated, holding her bouquet during the ceremony, and giving a toast." You are also her therapist throughout the wedding process, dolling out more emotional support than you may ever have before during your friendship. "If that means giving her a shoulder to cry on when she's feeling overwhelmed, an ear to her vent to, or reminding her to take a deep breath and let it go, do it," Banting adds.
Don't view the wedding planner or coordinator as a threat.
You may love to plan parties, have great ideas, and top-notch decorating skills, but you should leave the planning to the professional unless the bride specifically asks for your input and help. "The planner has the same goal as you—to ensure your friend's wedding day is as perfect as possible," says Banting. "Pointing out how you would do things only creates tension, and the last thing you want is to stress out the bride." This isn't the planner's first rodeo, so let her do her job and be there to assist if need be.
Don't forget it's your job to care for the other bridesmaids.
Yes, your main job is to cater to the bride-to-be, but it's also your responsibility to serve as "head bridesmaid." This means tackling the questions and concerns of the bridal party before they get to the bride. "As a wedding planner, I always appreciate having a take-charge maid/matron of honor who can help disseminate information to the rest of the bridesmaids," says Vicky Choy, event planner at Event Accomplished LLC. "Be proactive, but not overbearing, about tending to everyone's needs." This will come in handy during the bachelorette party and on the day of the wedding.
Don't make a long or embarrassing toast.
Aim to keep your toast to about three to five minutes, unless the bride specifically requests that you make a longer speech. "Chances are, you're not the only one making a toast that evening and the last thing guests want is to listen to someone ramble on and on and prevent them from enjoying the festivities," says Choy. "Also, don't drink too much before your toast so you don't end up embarrassing yourself or the newlyweds." Avoid rehashing your entire life story and skipping inside jokes no one else will understand.
Don't disappear when the last song's over.
After a long day of getting ready, waiting on your bride bestie hand and foot, taking photos, giving your speech, and somehow finding time to eat, you're going to be flat-out exhausted once the evening's over. But Choy warns not to skedaddle too early. "Make sure nothing is left behind in the room where the wedding party had stored their belongings," she says. "The newlyweds may not be going back to their hotel room immediately, so you may need to help them carry out some belongings (like the bride's veil, her wedding dress if she changed, or her bouquet)."